Subcommittee on Government Operations Ranking Member Jody Hice (R-Ga.) and Representative Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) wrote to Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center (AVAMC) Chief of Staff, Dr. Ivan Correa, regarding disturbing reports that the AVAMC had ten pallets of mail sitting unopened in its basement for more than 10 months, potentially delaying or preventing medical treatment for thousands of Georgia’s veterans. The emergence of this report immediately calls into question how mail containing pertinent information for Georgia veterans to receive treatment was allowed to remain unopened and unprocessed for an astounding amount of time.
“Included in the thousands of pieces of mail left in the basement were parcels critical to veteran care, medical records waiting to be scanned into their system, and documents that would allow payments to private doctors who provide services to veterans. Each of these pieces of mail potentially represents a veteran unable to receive treatment in a timely manner,” wrote the lawmakers. “The AVAMC has publicly stated that is has begun processing six of the ten pallets of mail and is hiring more workers to catch up on the backlog. However, it is deeply concerning that this happened at all. In fact, according to the Inspector General of Veterans Affairs, mail processing is one of the most important things the Veterans Benefits Administration does. It is clear AVAMC did not prioritize the processing of mail in a timely manner.”
In order for Committee Republicans to conduct oversight on this pressing issue, the lawmakers have requested information detailing why these pallets of mail were left unprocessed, the nature of the documents contained in the pallets, and what steps the AVAMC is taking to ensure accountability.